The plethora of great new music which has dropped in the first part of this rapidly aging year has lead me to this point - another Ear to the Ground first. We did our first Non-Shuffle Album review earlier this year for The Gyspy West's EP Accomplices III: There are Rules. Then, we did our first ever multi-part review Non-Shuffle for our review of The End Men's new album Play With Your Toys. Today, we have two reviews for the price of one.
Great music made by really cool people inspires me to step out of my comfort zones. It encourages me to take chances. After the jump, you can see what happened when I turned off the Shuffle mode and listened to Odd Man Out by Killing Kuddles followed by Pancakes and Pizza by Taco Land.
There are some who would argue that I have no business writing about Killing Kuddles and Taco Land in the same blog post. But, hell you can find someone to argue about just about anything. I've always said that music is all about connections and that one of my goals with Ear to the Ground is to seek out and expose connections where they otherwise might be missed. When I started a shuffle with the Punk/Metalcore band S3X and closed it out with a classic Bluegrass number, there was a thread that connected it all (at least in my twisted mind). The connection between Killing Kuddles and Taco Land is not nearly as extreme, but it is a bit obscured, so I will attempt to clear things up while telling you why you need to own both of these new records.
Killing Kuddles is a Noise/Pop/Folk artist by the name of Elwood Kuddles from Atlanta, Georgia. Of Killing Kuddles, I once wrote, "He brings a grungy, punk spirit to a folk troubadours' heart (or maybe it's the other way around)."
Taco Land is a Rock n Roll band from San Antonio, Texas. Jerry Lefere and Joseph "Taco" Russell make up Taco Land. Of Taco Land I once wrote, “Taco Land is everything you’d expect from a band from South Texas called Taco Land and nothing you’d expect from a band from South Texas called Taco Land”
Odd Man Out by Killing Kuddles is a five (5) song EP released by Atlanta-based All Looks No Hooks. 1. Not Coming Back 2. Dropped the Pop 3. Save Me a Seat 4. Rock and Roll is Dead 5. Stand Your Ground.
Pancakes and Pizza by Taco Land is a fifteen (15) song album released by the Band on their own label Kaytee Records. 1. Save Yourself 2. The Clock Stopped 3. Love Doesn't Mind 4. Pancakes and Pizza 5. Better Have a Reason 6. Let's Give It Away 7. Hallelujah 8. Soulard 9.Modern Lives 10. Muskegon Harbor 11. Did You Lie 12. Arlene 13. One More Time 14. Love Doesn't Mind II 15. Machine Gun.
On Odd Man Out, Killing Kuddles displays all the snottiness necessary for good classic punk rock music, all the lyrical and melodious aplomb necessary for good modern Indie-Pop music and all the brazen audacity and pure talent to pull of the combination of the two. For me, stand out tracks are all of them, but I especially love Dropped the Pop and Rock and Roll in Dead. The EP ended way too soon for my taste and left me eager to find out what is next from Elwood of the ATL. Killer songs, played with energy and attitude. A perfect antidote for some of the interesting but fairly lifeless Indie/Folk/Pop currently enjoying mainstream success (and creating bland, indistinguishable clones).
On Pancakes and Pizza, Taco Land turns things up a notch from their also excellent Heart of Texas album. There are themes of Love, Politics and War through the record. As I listened to this record, my mind was reeling trying to catch and recognize all of the musical touchstones which are delicately woven through out the record. I could name drop artists like Pink Floyd and Townes Van Zandt, but I won't. Joseph and Jerry are accomplished musicians and seem to have hit a certain stride with this record. The vocals are melted butter and syrupy smooth. At 15 tracks, this is a long album, but it doesn't feel long. Actually, what it feels like is a drive through South Texas with some good friends, or maybe it is like a conversation that eases it's way through deeply serious and emotional landscapes. Time flies when you are listening to great music. Stand Out tracks include: the lovely Love Doesn't Mind II (which features the three beautiful women in Joseph Russell's life), the title track, and the gorgeous instrumental Muskegon Harbor which (if I'm not mistaken) throws some scratching into the mix.
So, what is the connection between Killing Kuddles and Taco Land. The obvious connection is me. I love both these artists and both of these new records. They each used quotes of mine to promote themselves. But, taking myself out of the equation (which is hard for an ego-maniac like me), they are both modern American musicians making original music on their own terms. They both defy expectations and conventions, and they each have created new records which stand among the best I've heard this year. So, my hope is first of all that you'll check out both artists and if you dig send some love and greenbacks their way. I also hope that some open-minded Killing Kuddles fans will check out Taco Land and that some equally adventurous Taco Land fans will check out Killing Kuddles.
HERE IS A KILLING KUDDLES AND TACO LAND VIDEO EXPLOSION